Notre Dame de Paris will replace its four bells in the north tower in February 2013 for the 850th anniversary of the cathedral.  The following is the article about the renovation published in 2011.
Excerpts from The New York Times with Japanese translation.

The New York Timesから抜粋と、訳です。


Paris Journal

A Melodic Emblem Falls Out of Tune

Published: October 18, 2011



Image: Nigel Dickinson for The New York Times
The bells of Notre Dame de Paris

PARIS — Since 1856, the four major bells atop the northern towers of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame have rung every 15 minutes, without fail. They rang for the end of World War I and the liberation of Paris in 1944. Most recently, they chimed in honor of the victims of 9/11.

パリ: 1856年以来、ノートルダム大聖堂北塔の4基の鐘は、15分毎になり続け滞ったことはない。第一次世界大戦の終戦時や、1944年のパリ解放時にも鳴り続けた。最近では、9.11の犠牲者を悼み、鐘の音が鳴り渡った。

They even have names, taken from various French saints: Angélique-Françoise, Antoinette-Charlotte, Hyacinthe-Jeanne and Denise-David.

4基の鐘にはフランスの聖人から取った名前まである。Angélique-Françoise (アンジェリーク=フランソワ)、Antoinette-Charlotte (アントワネット=シャルロット)、Hyacinthe-Jeanne (イエソント=ジャンヌ)、そして、Denise-David (ドニーズ・ダヴィッド)だ。

Nevertheless, in 2012 they will be melted down and replaced by nine new ones, intended to recreate the sound of Notre-Dame’s original 17th-century bells.


The replacement of the bells, which is mentioned without fanfare on a placard inside the church, has caused a small but very Parisian ruckus. Some consider the 19th-century bells unrivaled witnesses to French history, made famous by Victor Hugo’s “Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” and an indestructible part of French heritage.


For the Rev. Patrick Jacquin, the rector of Notre-Dame and initiator of the project, the point is authenticity. “We don’t destroy the bells,” he said. “We only intensify the sound of Notre-Dame.”


Reconstruction of the Sound of the Cathedral Bells 18世紀末の鐘の音の再現

Reconstruction of the Sound of the Cathedral Bells in nytimes
18世紀末の鐘の音の再現 (この画像をクリックすると、The New York Timesの記事が表示されます。左上部のこのような画像の三角マークをクリックすると、鐘の音を聞くことができます)


Bells, cast from a bronze alloy, may look indestructible, but they do not last forever. They can wear down and fall out of tune, which is what some “campanologues,” or bell experts, say has happened to the bells of Notre-Dame. “This is one of the most dreadful sets of bells in France,” said one expert, Hervé Gouriou. “They are damaged and badly tuned.”


But for some ardent defenders of French heritage like Xavier Gilibert, a 37-year-old director of a nongovernmental organization, the bells are not only a symbol of Paris but also a worldwide heritage.

ところが、NGO代表のクサバー・ジルベール氏 (37) のような熱心な擁護者は、この鐘はパリのシンボルであるだけでなく、世界遺産だと主張する。

“They rang at fundamental moments of our history,” Mr. Gilibert said. “They are going to disappear, and no one will know about it.”


The replacement of the bells in a $3.5 million project is part of a face-lift in preparation for the cathedral’s 850th anniversary next year that includes a renovation of the obsolete and energy-intensive lighting system and renowned organ.


Not all the bells will be replaced. The great 1681 “Bourdon Emmanuel” bell, which hangs in the south tower and is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, will be preserved. It rings for major religious celebrations, popes’ visits, presidential funerals and commemorations. When Pope John Paul II died in 2005 at the age of 84, the Bourdon Emmanuel rang 84 times.


Despite the concerns of those like Mr. Gilibert, only the Bourdon Emmanuel is considered by experts to have important historical significance. The smaller bells were cast in the 19th century, which many French historians consider to be recent; their metal is of low quality, and they produce a disharmonious sound, the experts say.


Before the revolution, Notre-Dame had 20 renowned bells that pealed atop the northern and southern towers of the building. But after the revolution in 1789, all the bells save one were melted down to make cannons, as the revolutionaries destroyed all religious symbols and even held propaganda meetings in the cathedral. (About 80 percent of the bells across France disappeared after the French Revolution.) “Until 1856, the remaining bell served only as an alarm,” Father Jacquin said. “The church rang only to alert people, including for epidemics.”


Revolutionaries confiscated the Emmanuel bell but never destroyed it. It was put back in the southern towers at Napoleon’s behest in 1802.

The Emmanuel Bell © NDP


In 1856, Napoleon III offered four bells to Notre-Dame — the ones in place today — to celebrate his son’s baptism and to replace the ones lost in the revolution. Father Jacquin’s hope is to recreate the original, 17th-century layout of the bells and “retrieve the harmony and harmonics of the bells that existed before 1789,” he said. He is working from an archive left by Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, a famous 19th-century architect.


Mr. Viollet-Le-Duc, who restored the cathedral between 1845 and 1865, also wished to recreate the church’s ancient harmonics. He rebuilt the belfry, making holes in the walls of the church and building beams to support the new bells. But the project was abandoned.


The new bells, Father Jacquin said, will have the same weight and diameter as the ancient ones and are designed to produce the same notes. They will ring as they rang throughout the ancien régime, with deeper resonance and a lower tone than today. (A sample of the new sound is available on the Notre-Dame Web site.)


Father Jacquin will soon ask for bids from the last four remaining bell makers in France. Last month, he went to the United States, “where people are interested in bells,” he said, to find sponsors for the renovation, which is also getting money from the state.


For Fernando Gabrielli, 48, an outspoken critic of Mr. Jacquin’s bell project, the destruction of the iconic bells is a crime.
“They are the music of the world,” he said in an interview.


/ ….. /

But some experts say that renewal of the bells is a creative act, not just a replication of the past. Philippe Paccard is the owner of the Fonderie Paccard, the oldest bell foundry in France, which was created in 1796. “Tradition dictates that bell makers never renew bells in an identical way,” he said.


Mr. Paccard’s father built the world’s largest free-swinging bell in Newport, Ky. He also made the carillon at the University of California, Berkeley, and the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. His company also designed the bells of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, which are known to be the largest in France.
“Bells are like human beings,” Mr. Paccard said. “They live and, one day, they fade.”





Inauguration du nouvel ensemble campanaire et sonnerie des cloches

Published on 23 Mar 2013 by KTOTV